Growing Pains in China’s Corporate Bond Market / 中国的企业债券市场成长的烦恼


Author: Alf Hickey

Growing Pains in China’s Corporate Bond Market

Chinese financial authorities would like to establish a corporate bond market as an alternative source of investment funds, particularly to help credit starved small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This would help reduce the over reliance on bank loans that has historically characterized the Chinese financial system and help to promote the internationalization of the RMB. However, the recent case of Shandong Helon Co Ltd shows that China has a long way to go before it has a mature corporate bond market.

A corporate bond market is an essential part of a modern financial system. It allows corporations to tap into a diverse range of funding mechanisms and can be a vital source of capital for new projects. Investors also benefit from new investment opportunities and the ability to diversify their risk. On a macro level, a developed bond market is attractive to any country with ambitions of being a global financial power. Deep and liquid markets allow investments to be made efficiently and at a low cost.

Since China has made it know that it intends to make the Renminbi a global currency, developing a modern bond market is particularly important to the Chinese financial authorities. Large financial markets ensure a steady demand for a country’s currency, and help provide liquidity in times of trouble. The fact that the US dollar has been able to remain the dominant global reserve currency, despite the US’s relative economic decline, is often attributed to the fact that American financial markets are the largest and most liquid in the world.

Besides helping to promote the internationalization of the RMB, a developed corporate bond market would help China move toward a more healthy financial system. One of the deficiencies of the current structure is that loans from large state owned banks provide the majority of corporate financing. Furthermore, the interest rate that banks charge is set by financial regulators, which results in inefficient lending. Chinese interest rates do not reflect market conditions, and loan recipients are often selected on a political rather than an economic basis. A well-functioning corporate bond market would provide a more market-based solution for allocating the massive amount of capital built up by the savings of the Chinese population.

Chinese financial regulators have recognized these inefficiencies and are taking several steps to promote the growth of a Chinese corporate bond market. One of the problems with the old system was that major investors such as insurance funds and wealth management funds were only allowed by regulators to invest in companies with high credit ratings. However, it is SMEs who are most in need of financing. In order to open up this market, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission issued new rules in May allowing insurance companies to invest unsecured exchange traded corporate bonds, as well as non-financial company debt and unsecured convertible debt issued by commercial banks. To further the development of this market, the China Securities Regulatory Commission wants to set up an exchange for high yield corporate debt. It plans to allow the Shenzhen stock exchange to run this market.

According to analysis by Joy Yang and Bill Belchere at Mirae Assets, the Chinese corporate bond market could be helped by the credit tightening that started in 2011. In order to control rising inflation, the central bank implemented tighter monetary policies by raising both interest rates and required reserve ratio to be held by banks, and the central government cracked down on banks and local governments’ off-balance sheet funding entities, which had been a major source of loans. As bank lending was drying up (dries up??), the corporate bond market becomes a more attractive option for companies looking to raise funds. Yang and Belchere pointed out that 2011 saw the highest ever level of investment in the corporate bond market, with 1.37 trillion RMB invested with an annual growth (rate?) of 14.3%. They also report that in order to promote Shanghai as an international financial center, the central government wants social financing to account for 22 percent of all financing by 2015, which implies a growth rate in the corporate bond market of about 20% a year.

However, to reach the goal of a larger and more market based corporate bond market, Chinese regulators will need to overcome many hurdles, the first of which is working out among themselves which agency will oversee the market. Peterson Institute for International Economics Analyst and HNC grad, Nicholas Borst, describes the network of agencies which currently regulate the market,

“The bond market right now is a bit of a regulatory mishmash. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approves bond issuances by listed companies. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) approved enterprise bonds issued by unlisted state-owned enterprises. Commercial paper, medium-term notes, and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) Collective Bonds are approved by the PBoC through the National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors (NAFMII). The PBoC regulates bond trading that occurs in the interbank market while the CSRC regulates trading occurring on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges. This confusing regulatory structure has added an unnecessary layer of complexity to the corporate bond market.”

Mr. Borst raises two other barriers which must be overcome to establish a well-functioning market: the distorted interest rate structure in China and the dominance of the market by state owned enterprises (SOEs). Interest rates in China are set by the Peoples Bank of China, and the rates on corporate bonds are generally a few percentage points above the benchmark household deposit rate. If government control was removed, it is likely that interest rates would be higher than their current level. The Mirae analysts report that because the household deposit rate does not cover deposits with maturities over 5 years, most corporate bonds have maturities over 5 years in order to be able to offer higher interest rates.

The dominance of state owned enterprises is linked to both the underdevelopment and risk aversion that exists in Chinese financial markets. Chinese investors are risk averse for both institutional and economic reasons and large state owned companies are seen as having the lowest credit risk, so they end up receiving the bulk of investment funds. There are also uncertainties concerning how corporate defaults will be handled in China, and SOEs are attractive investment destinations because they are seen as having an implicit government guarantee.

The recent case of Shandong Helon Co Ltd, (山东海龙股份有限公司) was widely seen as a test for the young bond market. Helon is an artificial fiber maker based in Weifang City, Shandong Province. Over the last decade it has expanded into shipping and real estate, but after the global slowdown in 2008 it began to lose money , and over the last year it was widely viewed as being likely to default. It had managed to stay in business by relying on a complicated series of loans and bond issues. However, when the true nature of its financial losses became clear, the company was one of the first Chinese firms to lose its investment grade rating. From an HSBC analysis quoted at Alphaville,

“Helon’11CP [2011 commercial paper] first came to the attention of investors on 1 September 2011, when the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) publicly reprimanded Shandong Helon. The company allegedly provided irregular guarantees of RMB423m to its affiliates in 2010, or 43.9% of its net assets, and another RMB100m in 1H 2011, without any public disclosure. As a result, China Lianhe Credit Rating, a major domestic rating agency, downgraded Helon ’11CP from A-1 to A-2, and the issuer’s long-term rating from A+ to A.

Three months later, Helon surprised the market again by announcing an adjustment to its financial statements for the years from 2008 – 2011. Shareholders’ equity as of the 3Q of 2011 was revised and brought down significantly from -RMB246m to -RMB762m. Helon’11CP and the issuer were quickly downgraded again to B and BB+, respectively.”

With about 400 million RMB of short-term commercial paper due to come in April of 2012, the company was in serious risk of defaulting. Luckily for Helon, the Weifang city government decided at the last minute to step in and provide the company with a bailout and guarantee its obligations. While Helon was pleased with this decision, bond market participants saw the bailout as a troubling sign. In order for a corporate bond market to work properly, credit risk, the risk a company will default, needs to be priced correctly. If governments intervene whenever a company in their jurisdiction is in trouble, the bond prices will still be fundamentally set by the state, not the market.

Furthermore, the Weifang government owns 16 percent of Helon, so it sends a signal to the market that government backed enterprises are safer than private ones. This only serves to intensify the concentration of investment in SOEs, contrary to the central government’s goals to promote the young bond market. The case is far from over for Helon, as it is still being sued by Shenzhen Development Bank over its overdue loans, and there are contentious issues relating to the handling of seniority in paying back creditors.

Writer: Alf Hickey, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’13

作者:Alf Hickey

中国的企业债券市场成长的烦恼

中国金融行业应建立一个企业债券市场作为企业投资资金的一种替代性来源,特别是帮助缺少资金的中小型企业。中国金融体系历来都有过度依赖银行贷款的特点,建立企业债券市场有助于减少这一现象,以促进人民币的国际化。然而,山东海龙股份有限公司最近的情况表明,中国要形成一个成熟的企业债券市场还有很长的路要走。

企业债券市场,是现代金融体系的一个重要组成部分。它允许企业开展多元化的筹资机制,是新项目开展的一个重要的资金来源。新的投资机会和分散风险的能力也使得投资者从中受益。在宏观层面上,任何一个有雄心成为全球性金融力量的国家,都会对成熟的债券市场有兴趣。完善的债券市场能使投资更有效率,成本更低。

自从中国已下定决心让人民币成为全球性货币,对中国金融机构来说,发展现代债券市场显得尤为重要。大规模的金融市场能够满足国家货币稳定的需要,并能在困难时期提高流动性。事实上,尽管美国经济有些衰退,美元能够在全球储备货币中一直保持领先地位,很大程度归因于一个事实,即美国的金融市场是世界上最大、最具流动性的。

除了有助于促进人民币的国际化,发展企业债券市场也有助于中国向更健康的金融体系迈进。现行制度的缺陷之一是,大部分的企业融资由大型国有银行的贷款支持。此外,由金融监管机构控制银行收费——利率,导致了贷款效率低下。中国的利率并不反映市场状况,贷款人的选择经常基于政治背景,而不是经济背景。中国人的储蓄积累起了大规模的资本,运作良好的企业债券市场能为其提供一个更有市场基础的分配方案。

中国金融监管机构已经认识到这些低效率现象的存在,并正在采取措施来推动中国企业债券市场的发展。原有系统的问题之一是,像保险基金和财富管理基金这样的大投资者,监管机构仅允许他们投资于具有高信贷评级的公司。然而,最有融资需求的却是中小企业。为了开拓这个市场,中国保险会在五月发行了新规则:允许保险公司投资无担保交易的企业债券,以及由商业银行发行的非金融类企业债券和无担保可转换债券。为了推动这个市场的发展,中国证监会计划针对高收益企业债券成立一个交易所,据称证监会计划在深圳证券交易所运行这个市场。

来自Mirae Assets的杨乐和比尔•贝尔彻的分析,中国企业债券市场可从2011年开始的信贷紧缩中受益。为了控制通货膨胀上升,央行实施紧缩的货币政策,同时提高贷款利率和商业银行存款准备金率,此外中央政府还着手对商业银行和地方政府的资产负债表外资金的管理,而这一直是贷款的一个主要来源。由于银行贷款的紧缩,企业债券市场的存在对企业募集资金变得更有吸引力。杨和贝尔彻指出,2011年在企业债券市场的投资达到了史无前例的最高水平,投资总额达到1.37万亿元人民币,年均增长率为14.3%。他们的报告还指出,为了使上海成为国际金融中心,中央政府希望到2015年社会融资占所有资金的22%,这意味着企业债券市场每年增长率要有20%左右。

然而,为了达到一个更大,更以市场为基础的企业债券市场的目标,中国的监管机构将需要克服许多障碍,其中首先要解决的是监督市场的代理机构。彼得森研究所国际经济分析师、HNC毕业生,尼古拉斯•博斯特介绍了目前规范市场的机构网络:“现在的问题是债券市场的监管混杂。中国证券监督管理委员会(证监会)批准上市公司发行债券。国家发展和改革委员会(发改委)批准非上市国有企业发行的企业债券。中国人民银行通过国家金融市场的机构投资者(交易商协会)协会批准商业票据,中期票据,中小型企业的集体债券。中国人民银行规定在银行间市场进行债券交易,而中国证监会的规定则是在上海和深圳交易所进行。这种混乱的管理架构,为企业债券市场增加了一层不必要的复杂。”

博斯特先生认为还有其他两个方面的障碍必须加以克服,才能建立一个运作良好的市场:中国扭曲的税率结构与国有企业的绝对市场主导地位。中国的利率由中国人民银行控制,企业债券的利率一般高于基准的家庭存款利率几个百分点。如果脱离了政府控制,利率可能会高于目前的水平。 Mirae Asset分析师在上面报告中提到,因为家庭存款利率不涉及5年期以上的家庭存款,而大多数企业债券期限5年以上,肯定要提供更高的利率。

国有企业的主导地位与中国金融市场的不发达和风险规避都有联系。中国投资者要对体制和经济的原因都进行风险规避,而大型国有企业的信贷风险是最低的,所以大型国有企业最终募集到大部分的投资基金。在中国关于如何处理企业违约也有不确定性,国有企业因隐含有政府担保而成为有吸引力的投资对象。

最近山东海龙股份有限公司这个著名的案例被看做是对新债券市场的一个考验。海龙是一家总部设在山东省潍坊市的人工纤维制造商。在过去十年中,它的业务已扩大到航运和房地产,但在2008年全球经济增长放缓后,公司开始亏损。过去一年的各种数据显示,今年它很有可能欠债。它通过一系列复杂的贷款和发行债券来维持它的业务。然而,当其财务亏损真相明朗后,该公司成为中国第一家失去投资评级的公司。引用汇丰银行在Alphaville的分析:

“2011年9月1日,山东海龙“Helon’11CP [2011年商业票据]第一次吸引投资者的关注时,深圳证券交易所就公开谴责过山东海龙。据称,该公司为其子公司分别在2010年、2011年提供过不规则担保:2010年,4.23亿,占其净资产的43.9%;2011年上半年,担保 1亿元,没有公开披露。最终,国内主要评级机构中国联合信用评级,将海龙11CP的信用等级从A-1降至A-2,长期评级从A +降至A。

三个月后,海龙出人意料地再次宣布调整其2008年-2011年的财务报表。截至2011年第三季度,对股东权益进行了修订,从-RMB2.46亿降至-RMB7.62亿。 Helon’11CP和发行人很快就再次被降级至B和BB +。“

由于约4亿人民币的短期商业票据将在2012年4月到期,该公司存在严重的违约风险。幸运的是,潍坊市政府在最后一分钟决定介入并向该公司提供紧急救助,对其责任提供担保。虽然海龙对这个决定感到高兴,但对债券市场参与者来说却是一个令人不安的救助。为了使企业债券市场秩序正常,信贷风险,公司默认的风险,都需要正确定位。如果政府对在其管辖范围内处于麻烦中的公司进行干预,那么从本质上来说债券价格仍然由政府控制,而不是市场。

此外,潍坊政府拥有海龙的16%股份,因此,这个案例向市场发出了一个信号——政府支持的企业比私人的更安全。这只会加强国有企业投资的力度,与中央政府的目标——促进年轻的债券市场相悖。该案例不远远没有结束,海龙仍然被深圳发展银行起诉逾期贷款,同时还存在关于处理债权人年资这个争议性问题。

海龙这个案例表明,中国的金融监管机构在发展本土企业债券市场面临着艰巨的任务。为了债券市场正常运作,必须摆脱政府设置的银行利率的控制,必须建立一个适当的程序使企业都不例外,从而使市场可以正确地评价信用风险。机构投资者也需要从严格的投资原则中解脱出来,使投资者可以自由地投资最需要信贷、最有可能推动未来经济增长的中小企业。

作者:Alf Hickey,中美中心国际关系硕士2013

译者:郭菁菁,中美中心证书项目2011-2012

Author: Alf Hickey

Growing Pains in China’s Corporate Bond Market

Chinese financial authorities would like to establish a corporate bond market as an alternative source of investment funds, particularly to help credit starved small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This would help reduce the over reliance on bank loans that has historically characterized the Chinese financial system and help to promote the internationalization of the RMB. However, the recent case of Shandong Helon Co Ltd shows that China has a long way to go before it has a mature corporate bond market.

A corporate bond market is an essential part of a modern financial system. It allows corporations to tap into a diverse range of funding mechanisms and can be a vital source of capital for new projects. Investors also benefit from new investment opportunities and the ability to diversify their risk. On a macro level, a developed bond market is attractive to any country with ambitions of being a global financial power. Deep and liquid markets allow investments to be made efficiently and at a low cost.

Since China has made it know that it intends to make the Renminbi a global currency, developing a modern bond market is particularly important to the Chinese financial authorities. Large financial markets ensure a steady demand for a country’s currency, and help provide liquidity in times of trouble. The fact that the US dollar has been able to remain the dominant global reserve currency, despite the US’s relative economic decline, is often attributed to the fact that American financial markets are the largest and most liquid in the world.

Besides helping to promote the internationalization of the RMB, a developed corporate bond market would help China move toward a more healthy financial system. One of the deficiencies of the current structure is that loans from large state owned banks provide the majority of corporate financing. Furthermore, the interest rate that banks charge is set by financial regulators, which results in inefficient lending. Chinese interest rates do not reflect market conditions, and loan recipients are often selected on a political rather than an economic basis. A well-functioning corporate bond market would provide a more market-based solution for allocating the massive amount of capital built up by the savings of the Chinese population.

Chinese financial regulators have recognized these inefficiencies and are taking several steps to promote the growth of a Chinese corporate bond market. One of the problems with the old system was that major investors such as insurance funds and wealth management funds were only allowed by regulators to invest in companies with high credit ratings. However, it is SMEs who are most in need of financing. In order to open up this market, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission issued new rules in May allowing insurance companies to invest unsecured exchange traded corporate bonds, as well as non-financial company debt and unsecured convertible debt issued by commercial banks. To further the development of this market, the China Securities Regulatory Commission wants to set up an exchange for high yield corporate debt. It plans to allow the Shenzhen stock exchange to run this market.

According to analysis by Joy Yang and Bill Belchere at Mirae Assets, the Chinese corporate bond market could be helped by the credit tightening that started in 2011. In order to control rising inflation, the central bank implemented tighter monetary policies by raising both interest rates and required reserve ratio to be held by banks, and the central government cracked down on banks and local governments’ off-balance sheet funding entities, which had been a major source of loans. As bank lending was drying up (dries up??), the corporate bond market becomes a more attractive option for companies looking to raise funds. Yang and Belchere pointed out that 2011 saw the highest ever level of investment in the corporate bond market, with 1.37 trillion RMB invested with an annual growth (rate?) of 14.3%. They also report that in order to promote Shanghai as an international financial center, the central government wants social financing to account for 22 percent of all financing by 2015, which implies a growth rate in the corporate bond market of about 20% a year.

However, to reach the goal of a larger and more market based corporate bond market, Chinese regulators will need to overcome many hurdles, the first of which is working out among themselves which agency will oversee the market. Peterson Institute for International Economics Analyst and HNC grad, Nicholas Borst, describes the network of agencies which currently regulate the market,

“The bond market right now is a bit of a regulatory mishmash. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approves bond issuances by listed companies. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) approved enterprise bonds issued by unlisted state-owned enterprises. Commercial paper, medium-term notes, and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) Collective Bonds are approved by the PBoC through the National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors (NAFMII). The PBoC regulates bond trading that occurs in the interbank market while the CSRC regulates trading occurring on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges. This confusing regulatory structure has added an unnecessary layer of complexity to the corporate bond market.”

Mr. Borst raises two other barriers which must be overcome to establish a well-functioning market: the distorted interest rate structure in China and the dominance of the market by state owned enterprises (SOEs). Interest rates in China are set by the Peoples Bank of China, and the rates on corporate bonds are generally a few percentage points above the benchmark household deposit rate. If government control was removed, it is likely that interest rates would be higher than their current level. The Mirae analysts report that because the household deposit rate does not cover deposits with maturities over 5 years, most corporate bonds have maturities over 5 years in order to be able to offer higher interest rates.

The dominance of state owned enterprises is linked to both the underdevelopment and risk aversion that exists in Chinese financial markets. Chinese investors are risk averse for both institutional and economic reasons and large state owned companies are seen as having the lowest credit risk, so they end up receiving the bulk of investment funds. There are also uncertainties concerning how corporate defaults will be handled in China, and SOEs are attractive investment destinations because they are seen as having an implicit government guarantee.

The recent case of Shandong Helon Co Ltd, (山东海龙股份有限公司) was widely seen as a test for the young bond market. Helon is an artificial fiber maker based in Weifang City, Shandong Province. Over the last decade it has expanded into shipping and real estate, but after the global slowdown in 2008 it began to lose money , and over the last year it was widely viewed as being likely to default. It had managed to stay in business by relying on a complicated series of loans and bond issues. However, when the true nature of its financial losses became clear, the company was one of the first Chinese firms to lose its investment grade rating. From an HSBC analysis quoted at Alphaville,

“Helon’11CP [2011 commercial paper] first came to the attention of investors on 1 September 2011, when the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) publicly reprimanded Shandong Helon. The company allegedly provided irregular guarantees of RMB423m to its affiliates in 2010, or 43.9% of its net assets, and another RMB100m in 1H 2011, without any public disclosure. As a result, China Lianhe Credit Rating, a major domestic rating agency, downgraded Helon ’11CP from A-1 to A-2, and the issuer’s long-term rating from A+ to A.

Three months later, Helon surprised the market again by announcing an adjustment to its financial statements for the years from 2008 – 2011. Shareholders’ equity as of the 3Q of 2011 was revised and brought down significantly from -RMB246m to -RMB762m. Helon’11CP and the issuer were quickly downgraded again to B and BB+, respectively.”

With about 400 million RMB of short-term commercial paper due to come in April of 2012, the company was in serious risk of defaulting. Luckily for Helon, the Weifang city government decided at the last minute to step in and provide the company with a bailout and guarantee its obligations. While Helon was pleased with this decision, bond market participants saw the bailout as a troubling sign. In order for a corporate bond market to work properly, credit risk, the risk a company will default, needs to be priced correctly. If governments intervene whenever a company in their jurisdiction is in trouble, the bond prices will still be fundamentally set by the state, not the market.

Furthermore, the Weifang government owns 16 percent of Helon, so it sends a signal to the market that government backed enterprises are safer than private ones. This only serves to intensify the concentration of investment in SOEs, contrary to the central government’s goals to promote the young bond market. The case is far from over for Helon, as it is still being sued by Shenzhen Development Bank over its overdue loans, and there are contentious issues relating to the handling of seniority in paying back creditors.

The Helon case shows that Chinese financial regulators face a difficult task in developing a homegrown corporate debt market. In order to have a properly functioning market, interest rates must be freed from government set bank rates and a proper procedure must be set up to let companies default, so that the market can properly price credit risk. Institutional investors also need to be freed from strict investment guidelines, so that investors are free to invest in SMEs who need credit the most and are most likely to drive future economic growth.

Writer:Alf Hickey, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’13


作者:Alf Hickey

中国的企业债券市场成长的烦恼

中国金融行业应建立一个企业债券市场作为企业投资资金的一种替代性来源,特别是帮助缺少资金的中小型企业。中国金融体系历来都有过度依赖银行贷款的特点,建立企业债券市场有助于减少这一现象,以促进人民币的国际化。然而,山东海龙股份有限公司最近的情况表明,中国要形成一个成熟的企业债券市场还有很长的路要走。

企业债券市场,是现代金融体系的一个重要组成部分。它允许企业开展多元化的筹资机制,是新项目开展的一个重要的资金来源。新的投资机会和分散风险的能力也使得投资者从中受益。在宏观层面上,任何一个有雄心成为全球性金融力量的国家,都会对成熟的债券市场有兴趣。完善的债券市场能使投资更有效率,成本更低。

自从中国已下定决心让人民币成为全球性货币,对中国金融机构来说,发展现代债券市场显得尤为重要。大规模的金融市场能够满足国家货币稳定的需要,并能在困难时期提高流动性。事实上,尽管美国经济有些衰退,美元能够在全球储备货币中一直保持领先地位,很大程度归因于一个事实,即美国的金融市场是世界上最大、最具流动性的。

除了有助于促进人民币的国际化,发展企业债券市场也有助于中国向更健康的金融体系迈进。现行制度的缺陷之一是,大部分的企业融资由大型国有银行的贷款支持。此外,由金融监管机构控制银行收费——利率,导致了贷款效率低下。中国的利率并不反映市场状况,贷款人的选择经常基于政治背景,而不是经济背景。中国人的储蓄积累起了大规模的资本,运作良好的企业债券市场能为其提供一个更有市场基础的分配方案。

中国金融监管机构已经认识到这些低效率现象的存在,并正在采取措施来推动中国企业债券市场的发展。原有系统的问题之一是,像保险基金和财富管理基金这样的大投资者,监管机构仅允许他们投资于具有高信贷评级的公司。然而,最有融资需求的却是中小企业。为了开拓这个市场,中国保险会在五月发行了新规则:允许保险公司投资无担保交易的企业债券,以及由商业银行发行的非金融类企业债券和无担保可转换债券。为了推动这个市场的发展,中国证监会计划针对高收益企业债券成立一个交易所,据称证监会计划在深圳证券交易所运行这个市场。

来自Mirae Assets的杨乐和比尔•贝尔彻的分析,中国企业债券市场可从2011年开始的信贷紧缩中受益。为了控制通货膨胀上升,央行实施紧缩的货币政策,同时提高贷款利率和商业银行存款准备金率,此外中央政府还着手对商业银行和地方政府的资产负债表外资金的管理,而这一直是贷款的一个主要来源。由于银行贷款的紧缩,企业债券市场的存在对企业募集资金变得更有吸引力。杨和贝尔彻指出,2011年在企业债券市场的投资达到了史无前例的最高水平,投资总额达到1.37万亿元人民币,年均增长率为14.3%。他们的报告还指出,为了使上海成为国际金融中心,中央政府希望到2015年社会融资占所有资金的22%,这意味着企业债券市场每年增长率要有20%左右。

然而,为了达到一个更大,更以市场为基础的企业债券市场的目标,中国的监管机构将需要克服许多障碍,其中首先要解决的是监督市场的代理机构。彼得森研究所国际经济分析师、HNC毕业生,尼古拉斯•博斯特介绍了目前规范市场的机构网络:“现在的问题是债券市场的监管混杂。中国证券监督管理委员会(证监会)批准上市公司发行债券。国家发展和改革委员会(发改委)批准非上市国有企业发行的企业债券。中国人民银行通过国家金融市场的机构投资者(交易商协会)协会批准商业票据,中期票据,中小型企业的集体债券。中国人民银行规定在银行间市场进行债券交易,而中国证监会的规定则是在上海和深圳交易所进行。这种混乱的管理架构,为企业债券市场增加了一层不必要的复杂。”

博斯特先生认为还有其他两个方面的障碍必须加以克服,才能建立一个运作良好的市场:中国扭曲的税率结构与国有企业的绝对市场主导地位。中国的利率由中国人民银行控制,企业债券的利率一般高于基准的家庭存款利率几个百分点。如果脱离了政府控制,利率可能会高于目前的水平。 Mirae Asset分析师在上面报告中提到,因为家庭存款利率不涉及5年期以上的家庭存款,而大多数企业债券期限5年以上,肯定要提供更高的利率。

国有企业的主导地位与中国金融市场的不发达和风险规避都有联系。中国投资者要对体制和经济的原因都进行风险规避,而大型国有企业的信贷风险是最低的,所以大型国有企业最终募集到大部分的投资基金。在中国关于如何处理企业违约也有不确定性,国有企业因隐含有政府担保而成为有吸引力的投资对象。

最近山东海龙股份有限公司这个著名的案例被看做是对新债券市场的一个考验。海龙是一家总部设在山东省潍坊市的人工纤维制造商。在过去十年中,它的业务已扩大到航运和房地产,但在2008年全球经济增长放缓后,公司开始亏损。过去一年的各种数据显示,今年它很有可能欠债。它通过一系列复杂的贷款和发行债券来维持它的业务。然而,当其财务亏损真相明朗后,该公司成为中国第一家失去投资评级的公司。引用汇丰银行在Alphaville的分析:

“2011年9月1日,山东海龙“Helon’11CP [2011年商业票据]第一次吸引投资者的关注时,深圳证券交易所就公开谴责过山东海龙。据称,该公司为其子公司分别在2010年、2011年提供过不规则担保:2010年,4.23亿,占其净资产的43.9%;2011年上半年,担保 1亿元,没有公开披露。最终,国内主要评级机构中国联合信用评级,将海龙11CP的信用等级从A-1降至A-2,长期评级从A +降至A。

三个月后,海龙出人意料地再次宣布调整其2008年-2011年的财务报表。截至2011年第三季度,对股东权益进行了修订,从-RMB2.46亿降至-RMB7.62亿。 Helon’11CP和发行人很快就再次被降级至B和BB +。“

由于约4亿人民币的短期商业票据将在2012年4月到期,该公司存在严重的违约风险。幸运的是,潍坊市政府在最后一分钟决定介入并向该公司提供紧急救助,对其责任提供担保。虽然海龙对这个决定感到高兴,但对债券市场参与者来说却是一个令人不安的救助。为了使企业债券市场秩序正常,信贷风险,公司默认的风险,都需要正确定位。如果政府对在其管辖范围内处于麻烦中的公司进行干预,那么从本质上来说债券价格仍然由政府控制,而不是市场。

此外,潍坊政府拥有海龙的16%股份,因此,这个案例向市场发出了一个信号——政府支持的企业比私人的更安全。这只会加强国有企业投资的力度,与中央政府的目标——促进年轻的债券市场相悖。该案例不远远没有结束,海龙仍然被深圳发展银行起诉逾期贷款,同时还存在关于处理债权人年资这个争议性问题。

海龙这个案例表明,中国的金融监管机构在发展本土企业债券市场面临着艰巨的任务。为了债券市场正常运作,必须摆脱政府设置的银行利率的控制,必须建立一个适当的程序使企业都不例外,从而使市场可以正确地评价信用风险。机构投资者也需要从严格的投资原则中解脱出来,使投资者可以自由地投资最需要信贷、最有可能推动未来经济增长的中小企业。

作者:Alf Hickey,中美中心国际关系硕士2013

译者:郭菁菁,中美中心证书项目2011-2012